Umbilical Cord Blood Banking

More than 20,000 transplants utilizing umbilical cord blood stem cell have been performed. The use of umbilical cord blood cell continues to expand as more areas are being discovered such as use in regenerative disease treatment. Cord blood may be stored for family and personal use or it could be donated for use by unrelated recipients. Experts recommend that people donate umbilical cord blood to public banks where it may be used by other people who suffer from diseases treatable with cord blood cells. The regulatory framework now stipulates that good manufacturing practices have to be observed when collecting and storing cord blood. Cold blood units should be stored and used under the license of FDA or used for investigational drug applications.

Harvesting and Storage of Cord Blood

Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of both progenitor and stem cells that are able to restore immunological function and blood formation after a transplant procedure. Cord blood is that which remains in a newborn’s placenta after birth and in the umbilical cord following delivery. The blood is harvested after the delivery of the baby and the placenta and so it is usually outside of the mother’s body.  Experienced blood collectors can be able to harvest about 110 ml of blood in a single umbilical cord and placenta. When the cord blood harvesting is done, the volume of blood is reduced because of the storage requirements (space required to store it). The specimen obtained is frozen before storing it at temperatures under -135 degrees Celsius.

steps in cord blood banking

Should You Bank Cord Blood?

There are many reasons why families would want to store their infant’s cord blood, and it is understandable why many parents are taking the decision to bank cord blood. The number of diseases which can be treated using cord blood continues to increase meaning that in future, there will be more uses of the cord blood.  While parents may store the blood for family or personal use, and with prospects that degenerative diseases are also being studied as possible areas of new applications of cord blood, it is not yet evident how cord blood will help in such situations. Degenerative diseases tend to occur in old age and considering that it is not clearly known how long cord blood cells under storage can remain viable, it is crucial that people take precautions when they make the decision.

Today, many people are advised to consider public cord blood donations that can benefit other people. But this is still disadvantageous for the family should they in future find that they need to use cord blood to treat a certain ailment. Going for the same cord blood that you donated to a public bank may cost you heavily yet you did it for free. The accessibility to the same cord blood unit you donated may be subject to whether or not it has been used by another patient.

Presently, donor cord blood is being used to provide alternative source for hematopoietic stem cells that would normally be obtained from bone marrow. The cord blood is used to treatment genetic blood disorders including various types of blood cancer. It may also be used to treat autoimmune diseases, and now there are prospects that it could be used to treat degenerative diseases.2

Keywords: donate umbilical cord blood; storing cord blood; cord blood harvesting; bank cord blood; cord blood donations; donor cord blood

Reference List

  1. Cord Blood Banking. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/cord-blood
  2. Cord Blood Banking- Origins and Types of Stem Cells. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/cord-blood

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